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PLATFORM / Art & Social Engagement

Please join SFAI Truth & Reconciliation residents Elizabeth Burden, Valentine Cadieux, and Varuni Kanagasundaram for an evening of interactive art and conversation about socially engaged creative practices in a one-night only collaboratory.

We seek audience members interested in being active participants in the collaboratory. A collaboratory is a experimental and open research environment characterized by a decentered, interactive space where sharing of resources, ideas, and experiences is encouraged so that a group can work together to generate solutions to complex problems.</h3 class=”holder”> Participants will be guided through three brief interactive experiences, each led by a different artist, that employ a variety of materials and methods to collaboratively create artworks, reflect upon complex social issues, and build community through direct participation in simple but meaningful acts. Immediately following, participants are welcomed to join the artists in a talking circle to share feedback about their experiences in an open dialogue.

The intent of the evening is to provide participants with embodied understanding of the positive impacts and challenges of socially engaged art, complimented by an opportunity for mutual learning among the artists and participants about this evolving and dynamic type of creative practice.

This event is free and open to the public. Suggested donation for this event is $10 at the door.

Elizabeth Burden is a multidisciplinary artist based in Tucson, Arizona who holds bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and Studio Art from the University of Nebraska and the University of Arizona, and a master’s degree in Geographic Information Science from the University of Arizona. Her works use drawing, painting, sculpture, video, coding, mapping, and other processes to interpret and reinterpret personal, community, and societal narratives about identity, memory, belonging, (dis)placement, (in)visibility, erasure, and the unspeakable. Her recent work focuses on four interrelated themes:1) geographies, space, and place; 2) physical, geographic, and temporal displacement; 3) contemporary state (police) and societal violence; and 4) legacies and vestiges of historical violence and trauma.

#tamirrice 1, 2, 3 / Elizabeth Burden 


Valentine Cadieux is an artist, Assistant Professor and Director of Sustainability and Environmental Studies at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Professor Cadieux received her PhD and MA in Geography from the University of Toronto after completing an AB in Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges. Professor Cadieux studies collaborative knowledge practices related to food, agriculture, and land in the context of settler society cultures in Canada, the United States,and Aotearoa New Zealand. She is currently working on the FoodShed, a collaborative online workshop and field guide to food movement efforts, and an accompanying podcast called Eating Together — find more at

Making the Best of It: Dandelion / Valentine Cadieux & Marina Zurkow / Image credit: Sean Smuda


Varuni Kanagasundaram is a ceramic artist and PhD candidate at RMIT University, School of Art in Melbourne, Australia. She investigates the cultural rituals undertaken by the Tamil ethnic population as a means to translate the expression of the Tamil diaspora. Her ceramic installations capture the confluence of cultural traditions of women from the Indian subcontinent and the landscape of those that inhabit the boundaries of traditions as markings of textiles and vivid pigments, in clay. These ceramic installations serve as a gesture and an invitation to the broader diverse community to view the many expressions and the flux of “moving in-between” cultural traditions.

Fabric of Self / Varuni Kanagasundaram